Grouse in Space and Time: the population biology of a managed gamebird. By Peter J. Hudson. Game Conservancy, Fordingbridge, 1992. 63 colour plates; 61 line-drawings. £25.00. Over nine million acres of upland Britain are maintained in a highly artificial state through heather burning, predator control and restrictions on public access so that a small number of people can shoot approximately 450,000 Red Grouse Lagopus lagopus each year. An equally important statistic is that the annual income generated by encouraging this indigenous bird to live at unnaturally high densities solely so that the surplus production can be shot is some £31.5 million, an amount which benefits not just the owners of the land, but also the communities of the mostly remote areas involved. The long-term decline in grouse numbers this century, with a major acceleration in the 1970s, prompted this detailed study which, it is hoped, would come up with some explanations and, preferably, some remedies. The Game Conservancy's Red Grouse Research Team, ably led by Peter Hudson, has produced this extremely detailed examination of the Red Grouse, its economics, management, population biology, behaviour, diseases, predators and food supply. Some grouse-moor owners have confessed that it is all a bit too scientific for them, but the numerous graphs, histograms and tables are set amidst a very readable text, while the colour photographs illustrate almost every aspect of Red Grouse and moorland. Grouse-moor owners and keepers have long accused the Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus of being a major predator of Red Grouse, especially their chicks, making this the excuse for massive persecution, which still goes on in several areas despite decades of supposedly total protection.

Volume: 
Issue 2
Start Page: 
91
Authors: 
Ogilvie, M
Display Image: 

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